Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Day 1 - Review: The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith + Kick-off Giveaway


Sarah Smith is the author of The Vanished Child, Chasing Shakespeares, The Knowledge of Water, A Citizen of the Country and The Other Side of Dark, her YA debut!

Book Description via Goodreads:

Since losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Katie can see and talk to ghosts, which makes her a loner until fellow student Law sees her drawing of a historic house and together they seek a treasure rumored to be hidden there by illegal slave-traders.

Law Walker knew Katie Mullens before she was crazy. Before her mother died. Law knows Katie’s crazy now, but she’s always been talented. And she keeps filling sketch pads even though her drawings have gone a little crazy as well—dark, bloody. What Law doesn’t know is that these drawings are real. Or were real. Katie draws what she sees—and Katie sees dead people. People who have died—recently, and not so recently—in accidents, from suicide, even a boy who was trapped in a house that burned down more than 100 years ago. And it’s this boy who makes Law want to get to know Katie all over again. So what if his dad doesn’t want him dating a white girl? So what if people think Katie is dangerous? The ghost boy is hiding a secret that Law needs to know—and it’s much bigger, much more shocking than anyone ever expected.

Source: Simon & Schuster – Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Bernadette Cruz

My Thoughts:

Katie’s gift and curse of seeing ghosts was a key that will unlock several secrets of her life and that of others, as well. It was her burden to see what was invisible to others. Communicating with the dead was something she never did. But would she still remain to keep her mouth shut when she feels that she is compelled to communicate?

I was not really familiar with the history of African American people aside from the fact that a long time ago, they were brought from Africa to America to become slaves. It was something a bit similar to what happened to my ancestors. They were not enslaved with the same intensity but they were not treated as equals either. My ancestors were abused, belittled and treated like idiots in probably every way possible. Something like this always evokes a strong emotion, whatever emotion it is, among the descendants. And it will always be a reflection of the descendants’ identity, soul and humanity. This was what The Other Side of Dark showed me through Law.

Told in alternating perspectives, by Katie and Law, we get to see the difference in the narrative of the two characters. There was a distinct tone for each character. The priorities are not the same and to some extent, the level of sanity is not as well. I appreciated the change in the tone of the two characters. They were talking about the same things and yet it was as if they were talking about entirely different things. Although this novel was a collision of two lives, two colors and two races, I could not deny that there was a thick border between the characters. Whether it was caused by race, by skin color, by social image, it was still something that prevented their complete mesh.

Bravo to Smith for coming up with this haunting and heart-melting debut. It was simply great: creepy, profound and unpredictable. At first, I found the pace a bit slow but as I reached the more supernatural part, I could not stop. From the first line, Smith captured my interest with Katie’s haunt. Sometimes I deliberated whether or not Katie was insane or she truly did see ghosts. I liked how I kept thinking throughout the novel.

The ghosts were interesting. They articulated things and secrets, that no one alive would tell. They kept all kinds of secrets and all kinds of puzzle pieces that the people of the present needed, to understand their past and in turn, understand who they are. Perkins Bequest intrigued me the most. This sort of thing seemed like something I would see in the movies. The flashbacks via ghosts were marvelous, chilling and exciting. The attention to detail intensified everything, turned this novel into a real world, something I could easily imagine.

The Other Side of Dark dwelled on the issues of history, the kind that was not told, not published in any books and on the issues of the dead, the abused and the enslaved, on the issues of races and reparations, and on the issue of identity. It was a profound novel, trying to answer what is significant, what is untold, what is needed and what is yet to be discovered. Fans of creepy stories, multicultural stories, historical fiction and paranormal will love this!

Rating:

_____________________________________________________________________

Kick-Off Giveaway (Contest Closed!)

As you all know, this is the start of Christmas Countdown! For the Kick-Off Giveaway, Sarah Smith and Bernadette Cruz of S&S are offering a signed finished copy of The Other Side of Dark! If you liked the review or if you just want a good read, join the giveaway!




Contest Rules:

Must be a follower.
Comment about the review.
Open Internationally!
Ends January 1, 2011!
*I forgot to say! Please include your email address so I can contact you!

Extra Entries (if you like - not required):

+2 Comment on my interview with Sarah Smith.
Spread the word: 
+2 Twitter (please leave link)
+2 sidebar (please leave link)
+4 blog post (please leave link)
+3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar
+2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

Check here for the line-up of posts for Christmas Countdown!



55 comments:

  1. I love stories that have different narrators! Thanks for the review, it sounds awesome. I'm a follower. +1
    I commented on the interview +2
    Sidebar (http://friendlyreaderohyeah.blogspot.com/)+2
    Countdown blog button: http://friendlyreaderohyeah.blogspot.com/ +3
    Follower of Amaterasu Reads +2
    =10 entries
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    -Danna
    adannabanana@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a good book, I haven't heard much about this one.
    Thanks for the giveaway I'm a follower.
    apk1princess(at)live(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great review! It sounds like a really good book with loads to think about. I'm a follower. -original entry.
    I commented on the interview +2
    Blog post: +4 http://kayaloves.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-countdown-13-books-to-gift.html
    Sidebar
    http://kayaloves.blogspot.com +2
    Countdown blog button:
    http://kayaloves.blogspot.com +3
    Follower of Amaterasu Reads +2
    =14 entries

    Thank you for the awesome giveaway & for making it international:)

    k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think I'll gonna love this book. I love stories with mysteries to be uncovered and GHOST

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Ivanbookworm/status/14276044110438401

    Giveaway button
    ivanbookworm.blogspot.com

    following amaterasu reads.

    =TOTAL .. 9 entries

    Thank you
    ivanbookworm[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This book sounds incredibly intriguing. Great review.
    Commented here
    Commented on interview +2
    Follower of Amaterasu Reads +2
    =5 entries

    ReplyDelete
  6. Comment:
    Sidebar link on www.jennieenglund.blogspot.com
    Follower:

    6 points!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This book sounds awesome!

    *I commented on your interview +2
    *I posted about it on my blog + 4 (link: www.averageverydayteenblogger.blogspot.com)
    *I posted your Countdown button on my blog +3 (same link as above)
    *I follow your blog +2 ( though I admit I am a new follower. heres mu username: andrea danielle)

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great review! It sounds fantastic!

    I'm followers of both!

    http://coffeetablepress.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-countdown-giveaway.html

    http://coffeetablepress.blogspot.com Christmas button in sidebar

    http://twitter.com/#!/Aimeebctp

    +13

    Thanks!
    Aimee (villatemprance[at]gmail.com)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Book sounds awesome!!
    +2 commented on interview
    +2 Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/YearofTiger86/status/14515436628475905
    +4 Blog: http://krysykat.livejournal.com/3180.html
    +3 sidebar of countdown: http://krysykat.livejournal.com/
    +2 Following Amaterasu Reads

    Morganlafey86@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really, really, really want to read this now. All thanks to you - your comments, review and interview with Sarah Smith have me 100% convinced of this incredible read. I definitely want to be counted in for this giveaway!

    +2 Commented on your interview with Sarah Smith.
    +2 Tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/peacelovebooksx/status/14557295853703170
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    Thanks!
    hanging.by.a.moment_@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you. :)
    +2 Commented on interview with Sarah Smith.
    +2 sidebar http://fifteenaintsosweet.blogspot.com/
    +4 blog post (please leave link)
    +3 Christmas Countdown blog button on sidebar http://fifteenaintsosweet.blogspot.com/
    +2 follow Amaterasu Reads

    sauvadeavelle at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  12. would love to read this.

    :D

    regards,

    maidenhealer@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. am a follower of this blog.

    :D

    regards,

    maidenhealer@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. commented on interview with Sarah Smith.

    + 2

    :D

    regards,

    maidenhealer@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Am a follower of Amaterasu Reads

    +2

    :D

    regards,

    maidenhealer@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am a GFC follower (Lexie@BookBug)
    lexie.bookbug(AT)gmail(DOT)com
    +2 Commented
    +2 Tweeted at http://twitter.com/#!/LexieBookBug/status/14726018765955072
    Twitter Name: LexieBookBug
    +2 Follower of Amateaurasu blog
    +3 Put button on my blog at http://thebookbug-hogan.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great review! I have never heard about this book before but your review definitely made me add to my to-read list!

    +2 Follower of Amatearasu Reads

    vicky.vak8(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the review. I have seen this one around but never really read about it. I think it's interesting that it has different narrators :D

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks to you all for your great comments! I'm looking forward to giving away a copy of THE OTHER SIDE OF DARK to one of you, and to all of you, happy holidays--and may you see ghosts!

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh this sounds fantastic! Thanks!

    +2 Comment
    +2 Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/brennabraaten
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    brenna.braaten(AT)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I enjoyed reading your review and how you related to it. I love the ghosts too!
    I am a new follower.
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads
    +2 Commented on Sarah Smith's interview.
    +2 Twitter: http://twitter.com/lulilut/status/14815217686937600
    Thanks for the giveaway !
    d.septer at insightbb.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. GFC follower
    +2 Commented on the interview post
    +2 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/ReadingLassie/status/14831570363875328
    +2 Sidebar link: http://readinglassie.blogspot.com
    +2 Follower of Amaterasu Reads :')
    +3 Sidebar Button: http://readinglassie.blogspot.com

    Thanks so much Precious and Kai! Happy Holidays!

    ~ readinglassie(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  23. sounds like an intriguing story. i'd love to read it! can i have one please?!

    ReplyDelete
  24. This book sounds interesting. I would love to see hot the alternating perspectives meld the story together.
    +2 Follower of Amaterasu Reads
    3 entries

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

    ReplyDelete
  25. +2 http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/15321170211504128

    +2 Follower of Amaterasu Reads

    I follow on GFC.
    (\___/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm following via GFC as Jasmine1485 :) Thanks for a great giveaway!

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. This sounds interesting.

    Im a follower.

    Stacy
    Chllybrd(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is the first I've heard of this book,and it sounds great! I also love the cover.

    +1 comment/follower
    +2 Amaterasu Reads follower
    =3 Total

    Thanks so much!
    texas_gal45(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Xmas Countdown Day 7 - extra entry
    twitter:
    http://twitter.com/lulilut/status/16536639971004418
    Thanks!
    d.septer at insightbb.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've heard about this book before but never stopped to really read the reviews until now. Your review def. makes me want to pick it up! :)

    +2 Comment on interview :D

    +2 sidebar: http://frazzledbooknommer.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html
    +3 Christmas Countdown button: http://frazzledbooknommer.blogspot.com
    +2 Follower of Amaterasu Reads (how could I not?! I love her!!)

    Total: +9

    angelmistress[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for your in-depth review! I would really like to read this haunting and heart-melting debut.

    Spread the word:

    +2 Twitter
    http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/17135849044975617

    +2 sidebar
    http://the-bookaholics.blogspot.com

    +4 blog post
    http://the-bookaholics.blogspot.com/p/contests-giveaways.html

    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar
    http://the-bookaholics.blogspot.com

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Havent's heard of this book before, but I am interested! :)

    Spread the word:
    +2 Twitter: http://twitter.com/ivyreads/status/17260818760470528
    +2 sidebar: http://ivyreads.blogspot.com
    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar: http://ivyreads.blogspot.com
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads: Ivy

    Thanks!!
    ivykiddo[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  33. Xmas Countdown Day 9 - extra entry
    twitter:
    http://twitter.com/lulilut/status/17322141347221504
    Thanks!
    d.septer at insightbb.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Xmas Countdown Day 8 - extra entry
    http://twitter.com/lulilut/status/17006597184167936
    Thanks!
    d.septer at insightbb.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great review! This book sounds great.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    minas_1989(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  36. When I read the interview, I thought it will be ghost-teenlit. But When I read the synopsis, I think I have to change my mind

    I am GFC Follower : Aleetha

    +2 Comment on your interview with Sarah Smith.

    +2 Twitter
    http://twitter.com/aleetha/statuses/17695420943695872

    +2 sidebar
    http://bacaan-ally.blogspot.com

    +4 blog post (please leave link)
    http://bacaan-ally.blogspot.com/p/giveaway-links.html

    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar
    http://bacaan-ally.blogspot.com

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads
    ID GFC : Aleetha

    Thanks for the chance

    ReplyDelete
  37. Sounds like a good book, I haven't heard much about this one.
    Thanks for the giveaway I'm a follower.

    khyla_808ATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am a follower

    tweeted: http://twitter.com/khyla_rahchelle/status/17728667325046784

    khyla_808ATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  39. This sounds really, really interesting! I always have a thing for ghosts stories! Thanks for the giveaway! I'm a follower, I've posted the button on my sidebar & I'm also following Amaterasu Reads :)

    girlaboutbooks@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great review!It sounds like a really good book! i love it when books are told in alternating perspectives so im pretty sure im going to like this.

    +2 i follow Amaterasu Reads

    jessica b
    jecca.0104[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Great review. I'll have to check this one out.
    +2 comment on interview
    +2 follow amaterasu

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  42. Wow a 5 star review!Must be real good:)I am a fan of alternating perspectives and of "couples" telling their story. This book does not sound like it would feature African American history,very good! I should read that, sounds like a book I like. Thanks for your review!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great review. Sounds really good. Looking forward to getting the chance to read it.

    +2 commented on interview
    +2 sidebar - http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/
    +2 tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/DonnaS1/statuses/18890414606000128
    +2 follower

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

    ReplyDelete
  44. haven't heard about the book before. would like to try !!

    +2 Twitter : http://twitter.com/#!/becunique/status/19591439180627968

    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    uniquas at ymail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Follow - Badass Bookie

    +2 Comment on my interview with Sarah Smith
    +2 Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/BadassBookie/status/19667698174664704
    +2 sidebar http://badassbookie.blogspot.com/
    +4 blog post ( PAGE POST ACTUALLY ) - http://badassbookie.blogspot.com/p/contests-around-blogosphere.html
    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on your sidebar - http://badassbookie.blogspot.com/
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads ( Badass Bookie )

    Extra Entries total - 15 ( However for the blog post I did a page post so you might want to take some entries off!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I forgot my email !!!!

    callmeghostgirl@yahoo.com.au

    ReplyDelete
  47. I've never heard about this book before... But it sounds really good! Thanks for the review and for the giveaway :)

    +2 Comment on your interview with Sarah Smith

    pisisbook@hotmail.fr

    ReplyDelete
  48. Count me in !
    The book sounds pretty interesting , i like that it's not told from 1 perspective.. :D
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads
    +2 Comment on your interview with Sarah Smith.
    +2 Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/raluk15/status/19784210852093952 )
    +3 Post the Christmas Countdown blog button on sidebar(
    http://booktopiasign.blogspot.com/ )

    raluk.93 at gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'm a follower on GFC. Thanks for the review. This books sounds interesting! I follow Amaterasu Reads on GFC also.+2

    marcie.turner@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thanks for the chance!

    +2 sidebar: http://darlynandbooks.blogspot.com.

    +3 post Christmas Countdown button
    http://darlynandbooks.blogspot.com

    darlyn225 at gmail dot com

    +2 follow Fragments of Life

    ReplyDelete
  51. I am a Follower via GFC.
    +2 Follow Amaterasu Reads

    From your review it sounds like a book that needs to be read slowly and carefully to follow what the author is trying to say.

    Not light reading but it does sounds enthralling.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at}GM ail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'd never heard of this book before, it sounds really good. Your review has made me want to go and get a copy right now. If I had the money, that is.

    natalie23{at}hotmail[dot]co[dot}uk

    ReplyDelete